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Biography

  • Born

    3 October 1950

  • Born In

    Indiana, United States

  • Died

    12 January 1998 (aged 47)

Phyllis Nelson (from Indiana, USA born on 3 October 1950 - died 12 January 1998, Los Angeles), was an American singer.

In 1981 she released " Don't Stop the Train" as the first single from the album "Move Closed". Nelson worked and recorded for several years from the late 1970s into the mid 1980s without achieving much success. Her records were usually dance tracks, and she had also recorded quite a number of records during the disco era. In 1985 she recorded a self written ballad entitled "Move Closer". It was a complete departure from the type of music she had been recording.

The lyrics of "Move Closer" were based on a long term love affair she had, with a much younger white Jewish man in Philadelphia, who was struggling to start his own computer business. They lived together for several years, raising together Nelson's two children (Marc and Kenya), that she had borne earlier by two different men. This man was Phyllis's first and most likely only true love, and the passion and the chemistry between the two was undeniable, inspiring her ballad.

One of the other songs in the Don't Stop The Train album is based on Nelson's gratitude for the man's gallant behavior toward her as well as his loving support for herself, her career, and her two children.

The relationship mostly ended due to this boyfriend's family being significantly dysfunctional with both of his parents suffering from severe mental illnesses. She resented having to teach him the necessary life skills that he missed learning during his upbringing. Racism and suspicion on the part of both extended families regarding the others' values and motivations were also significant factors.

While "Move Closer" failed to find an audience in her home country, it reached number one on the UK Singles Chart in early May 1985, making her the first black woman to top those charts with a self-composed offering. The song remained on the chart for almost six months, and became one of the highest selling singles of the year. But her subsequent releases failed to make any impression, and she is eternally remembered as a one-hit wonder.

"Move Closer" returned to the UK chart in 1994, reaching the Top 40, after being featured in a television commercial for anti-perspirant. In the United States, Nelson had success on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, where her song entitled "I Like You" peaked at number one in 1985.

Nelson died from breast cancer on 12 January 1998, in Los Angeles. She had been living there at the time of her death, and was also divorced. She was 47 years old.

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